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AI powered, end-to-end encrypted calls now available in Telegram Desktop

Secure instant messaging service Telegram today launched voice calls in its desktop app for Mac, Windows and Linux nearly two months after implementing the voice-calling feature in Telegram Messenger for iPhone and iPad.

To make sure Telegram calls are the best in terms of quality, speed and security, the app uses artificial intelligence to update its neural network after each call about things such as network speed, ping times, packet loss percentage and other factors that influence the quality of your VoIP calls.

Based on gathered data, the app optimizes dozens of parameters to improve the quality of future calls on the given device and network. By default, Telegram calls are lightweight.

If there’s a change in your connection during the call, the app will make necessary adjustments.

For instance, Telegram may boost your sound quality on stable Wi-Fi connection or use less data if your Wi-Fi or cellular coverage is spotty at best.

Whenever possible, your calls will go over a peer-to-peer connection using the best audio codecs to save traffic while providing “crystal-clear quality.” When a peer-to-peer connection cannot be established, the app will use the closest server to you.

Telegram has its own distributed infrastructure all over the world to ensure the fastest possible delivery of your texts and seamless voice calling experience. As mentioned, VoIP calls on Telegram use end-to-end encryption, just like the app’s Secret Chats feature, to prevent eavesdropping.

For voice calls, however, they’ve improved the key exchange mechanism. “To make sure your call is 100 percent secure, you and your recipient just need to compare four emoji”, said the team.

Bottom line: the quality of Telegram calls will further improve as you and others use them, thanks to the built-in machine learning. And with group calling, video calling and screen sharing apparently on the team’s to-do list, Telegram is bound to become a capable Skype alternative.

As soon as VoIP calls are enabled for your country, a phone icon will appear on every profile page in Telegram Desktop.

Telegram for iOS is available free via App Store.

Telegram Desktop can be downloaded from Mac App Store or through the official website.

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How to change default notification sound in Viber for iPhone

Popular messaging app Viber for iPhone now permits you to adjust notification sounds for new message alerts. You can change Viber’s default alert sound for all chats and even choose different notification sounds for each of your existing chats.

The ability to choose your own notification sounds on a per-chat basis makes it easy to distinguish between notifications for new messages from, say, your co-worker and girlfriend without even looking at your phone.

Here’s how you can change Viber’s default notification sound with a few taps.

Before we get to it, please update your copy of Viber for iOS to version 6.8.8 or later via App Store because adjusting alert sounds does not work on older Viber editions. At the time of this writing, this feature was unsupported in Viber Desktop for Mac.

How to change Viber’s default notification sound

Viber lets you override its default notification sound. To replace Viber’s default notification sound with the audible alerts listed in Settings → Sounds, do the following:

1) Launch Viber on your iOS device and tap the More tab at the app’s bottom.

2) Navigate to Settings → Notifications → Notifications Sounds.

3) Choose one of the available Alert Tones or Classic notification sounds.

All notifications for incoming messages will now use the selected sound.

How to change notification sound in Viber for individual chats

To adjust notification sounds for specific chats, do the following:

1) Launch Viber on your iOS device and tap a chat in the conversation list

2) Tap the recipient’s name at the top and select Chat Info & Settings from the menu.

3) Tap the Notification Sounds option on the next screen, then select a new sound from the list.

Viber will now use the selected sound for notification for incoming messages from that person.

That’s all, folks!

If you have a question, post a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer it. Please share this tutorial on social media and pass it along to the folks you support.

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Amazon launches Echo Show with video chat

You're relationship with Alexa just got a lot more personal.

Amazon just launched its latest gadget in the personal assistant line. The Echo Show is a $230 stand-alone touch screen device that is designed exclusively for Alexa. Now, when you ask Alexa to order that doll house, you'll see what it looks like first.

The Show, which houses a 7-inch touch sensitive screen and two Dolby front-facing speakers, as well as eight microphones, can hear your query from across the room, even while you're listening to Bruno Mars.

You can also make video calls to others that have the Show using the front-facing 5 megapixel camera. Just say, "Call mom," and you'll be able to talk, face-to-face with you dear mother. If she doesn't have her own Echo Show (you should get her one for Mother's Day), she can video chat with you via the Alexa app.

You can connect the Show to supported smart home devices, like the Ring front door camera or the Arlo security camera, and monitor goings-on without having to take your phone out of your pocket. Just ask Alexa to show you the baby's room and you'll be watching your bundle of joy resting peacefully.

The Echo Show can turn on the lights, turn down the heat, and activate all other Alexa-compatible smart home gadgets.

It also works with all of your other Alexa Skills, like Ted Talks, news flash briefings, and checking your calendar. Only now, you can actually see the results you're asking for, instead of just hearing Alexa chatter on.

Amazon is offering deep discounts on a number of Echo-related gadgets right now. The Arlo Security camera is down $72 at $147, which is a 33 percent discount. The Wemo Smart WiFi Plug is $5 off. If you buy two Echo Show devices, you can get $100 off with promo code SHOW2PACK. So you can get one for yourself and one for mom!

If you're ready to go all-in and have Alexa in every room, you can grab the standard Echo speaker for just $150 right now, which is $30 off the normal price.

You can pre-order the Echo Show today for $299.99 and it will arrive on your doorstep June 28.

See at Amazon

WhatsApp testing chat pinning, photo albums, message revoking & other upcoming features

The popular messaging app WhatsApp is experimenting with a new pinning feature in the chat list that, when released for everyone, will permit you to stick up to three contacts to the top of the conversation list, regardless of when they last messaged you.

As first noted by AndroidPolice, it was spotted in the latest beta builds of WhatsApp for Android. Other features in an iOS beta of the app include albums, the ability to revoke a message after it’s been sent, sending your real-time location to friends and family and more.

WhatsApp Albums, another upcoming feature, is in its early stages of development. Eventually, it will let you create custom albums of photos for sharing with individuals and groups.

Like other WhatsApp features, albums use end-to-end encryption.

According to WABetaInfo on Twitter, the unsend feature may be remotely enabled in the latest stable version of WhatsApp. Full support for rich notifications is being worked on, too.

Recent WhatsApp updates brought us improvements like the ability for Siri to read aloud newly received messages, text-only statusestwo-step verification for your account, sending messages offline, searching for animated GIFs from Gify and more.

You can join the WhatsApp for Android beta channel on Google’s Play Store, by tapping Join Beta at the bottom of the listing. WhatsApp for iPhone betas require a jailbroken device.

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Apple Watch etiquette: Is it rude to check your Watch?

Apple Watch is supposed to help us stay connect to tech without distracting us from real life, but checking notifications can seem rude. What to do?

Apple Watch, and smart watches in general, are not ubiquitous enough yet for us to get what it means when someone looks down at their wrist. When we quickly glance down to see if an email or text message can be ignored temporarily, it might look to others like we are checking the time, like we are in a hurry to leave the conversation.

Which is ironic because one of the purposes of Apple Watch is to allow us to address our various notifications without being distracted from what's going on right in front of us.

Until most people have a smart watch and we all understand that looking down at our wrist doesn't mean we are in a hurry, checking a notification might seem rude.

How my Apple Watch made me feel bad

I was recently on a nature walk, and was tracking my exercise with my Apple Watch. As I was hiking up a trail, a passerby caught my attention with a friendly how-do-you-do. I paused my exercise tracker so I could take a moment and chat with my fellow nature lover. To him, however, it looked like I was checking the time, to which he said, "Oh, I can tell you have somewhere to go, I'll leave you to it." I explained that I was pausing my timer so I could converse with him. He understood, but I still felt bad. For just a moment, he thought I didn't want to talk to him because I was in a hurry to get somewhere.

I've also been on the other end of the situation. I was having a conversation with a friend a little late into the evening. She glanced down at her Apple Watch, and for a split second, I thought she must want to go home. Turns out, she was just checking a notification.

We've had a hundred years of conditioning to understand that looking at your wrist meant checking the time, which sometimes means it's time to go. We've only had a few years, and not very many participants, to retrain our brains to understand that looking at your wrist doesn't necessarily mean checking the time, but instead means we're trying to stay present in the conversation.

So, what can we do?

So, how can we make use of Apple Watch's ability to keep us connected and not distracted, while not offending those around us who might take our watch checking actions the wrong way?

My first suggestion is to take a moment. It's instinctual to look down at your Watch as soon as you feel that buzz on your wrist, but that can seem abrupt and distracting to those around us. If you pause a beat before checking a notification, you can train your brain to wait until the right moment.

Which leads me to my second suggestion; Wait until the right moment. When you're in the middle of a conversation, it might be more polite to wait until the other person finishes a sentence before looking down at your watch. When there is a break, you can even let your companion know what you're up to — "I'm just checking this text" or the like. That way, you don't give off the impression that you're checking the time because you have to leave soon. Most people will be less offended by you checking a text then acting like you want to leave.

Someday, none of this will matter

Someday, smart watches will be popular enough that we will be reconditioned to understand that looking at our wrist doesn't mean we need or want to leave. Just like taking your phone out of your pocket, someday checking your watch will only imply to others that you are reading a notification. But, for now, we should think about how we look to someone else when, in the middle of a conversation, we lift our wrist and look at our watch.

Have you had any experiences with people checking their Apple Watch or had someone seem offended when you look at yours? How did you deal with the situation? Do you have suggestions for Apple Watch etiquette? Let's discuss in the comments.

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